Archive for December, 2009
We’re back with our weekly basement update and since we’re edging closer towards the best word ever (finished!) this week’s project is quick and easy. It actually has to do with that built-in cabinet (to the right of the Ikea workstation) that we painted white last week. Remember it was bare but we promised we had a storage idea in the queue for you guys? Well, here it is…
Yup, those are matching paint cans. And yes, we’re ok with you calling us nerds. We’ve actually been meaning to move our paint from the garage to the basement for a while. It’s a lot more temperate thanks to its underground location (it stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter) and because paint can freeze, dry out, and otherwise “spoil” when it gets too hot or cold, the basement is definitely a smarter place for it. Before moving it to the garage, we used to store our paint in the house until we read an article about how paint cans can off-gas and pollute your indoor air (so a lesser used basement or garage is a better choice).
And although we could easily have brought all of our old mismatched and gunked-up cans straight into the basement and called it a day, we just love the organized look of our “new” basement so much that we suddenly even hold paint storage to a higher standard and yearned for a more cohesive and effective solution. Not only do new cans look good, they create a tighter seal on our paint to help it last longer (which is always better than “casualty cans” sadly lost each year due to dried out paint- what a waste!). And for a few bucks a pop, new cans would be great “insurance” to keep all of our $25+ paint in ready-to-use condition.
Lucky for us, True Value sells these awesome empty paint cans (in both gallon and quart sizes) that we decided would be prefect for unifying everything for that newly spruced open shelf in the basement and keeping our paint nice and fresh for years to come. Remember how awesome True Value has been to us by giving us a spot on their DIY Blog Squad and offering us a generous gift card? Yeah, we kind of love them.
But seriously, how cool are those empty paint cans? Industrial-chic at it’s finest, no? Plus the act of transferring our paint allowed us to go through all of our old gallons and quarts to eliminate colors that we no longer need (like the old green color that we first used in the living room or the yellow paint that was on our front door) and you know we love to pare down, organize, and donate things that we’re no longer using (giving paint a second life is like two makeovers for the price of one!). Note: never toss old paint out with your regular garbage, either bring it to your local recycling center and drop it in the paint section or donate it to places like The Habitat For Humanity ReStore.
Of course before we grabbed our empty gallons and quarts we counted how many of each we’d need (and snagged a few extras for future additions). Then John’s inner “account guy” came out and he suggested that we head over to Office Max and buy some printable labels so we could transfer the name, brand, finish, and paint formula to each of the new cans (so we’d never have to worry about getting more whipped up if our supply ever dwindles). Sure it seemed a little obsessive (ok, a lot obsessive) but printing the labels only took about 15 minutes and they seriously make my little organization-loving heart skip a beat whenever I see them. Even John’s man heart swells with pride over his paint label making skillz.
Plus John even took a cue from the paint pros and left a little thumb print of each color on each label (you can never be too careful when it comes to guarding those paint formulas). The result: mouth-wateringly delicious open storage that keeps up with the rest of our basement while keeping our paint fresher thanks to a tighter seal that isn’t all gunked up with years of paint between the lip of the can and the lid. Gotta love a little “paint maintenance” to keep from having to trek out and rebuy paint all the time (nothing’s more annoying than needing a tiny bit of paint for a touch up and finding the entire can dried out which calls for the purchase of an entirely new one).
So what’s next on the basement agenda? Well, we still have to obscure our no-privacy windows and build a DIY screen to cover that eyesore of a water heater. Stay tuned for those details next week (in what will be the final chapter of our basement makeover!). Then it’s on to a big bathroom reno that has us laying awake in bed talking about tile options (and subsequently dreaming about said tile options). Do any of you have a big project that you’ll be taking on before the holidays? Maybe because people will be coming over and you want to spruce up the place or even because you know you’ll be traveling so leaving refinished floors to dry or going kitchenless for a bit while your new cabinets are ordered won’t be so bad? Do tell.
Update: One of our lovely readers chimed in with a solution to keep our new cans looking new and sealing securely for years to come. We plan to pick up a “latch on pour spout” which attaches to the lip of a gallon or quart and helps you pour paint without getting any around the lip of the can for a pristine look and a tight seal every time. Amazing!
Psst- Want to look back on our big basement makeover from start to almost-finished? Here’s the first post, the second post, the third post, the forth post, the fifth post and the sixth post. Ah memories.
Even though spring is a ways off, Sara’s before and after pictures had us feeling all sunny and cheerful. Here’s her letter:
I’m a longtime reader of your blog, and I have a big Reader Redesign for you. My fiancé and I bought our house last summer and have slowly been fixing it up. I’m so excited to share our biggest project to date: a DIY paver patio. We got a quote from a contractor that wanted around $8200 for the job! We decided to do the work ourselves, and also add a wall for extra seating. With no experience. And only two weeks to get it done before our big summer party. Yikes! We spent all of our nights and weekends (and a couple of vacation days) digging, compacting, leveling, shoveling, and moving (literally) tons of gravel, pavers and sand. It was backbreaking, but we are so pleased with the end result! With some clearance patio furniture and pillows from Home Depot, clearance seat cushions from TJ Maxx and a new fire pit from Menards, we ended up with a 300 square foot outdoor room that was nothing but weeds before! We still have some things to do out there, but for this season we are done. Oh and you can see more details and photos over on our blog. Here’s our budget breakdown for you:
- Belgard Dublin Cobble pavers, Weston Universal wall stones, edgers, stakes, 11 tons of crushed limestone, two tons of sand, three bags of polymeric sand, concrete adhesive for wall - $2054
- Compactor rental – $200
- Patio table – $140
- Six patio chairs – $300
- End table – $40
- Six throw pillows – $40
- Six seat cushions – $60
- Umbrella – FREE gift from neighbor (thanks, Margo!)
- 50 pound umbrella stand – $85 and worth every penny
- Fire pit – $100
- Total: $3019 – over 5k less than the contractor wanted for just the patio (not including the seat wall!)
Thanks so much for your great blog and for taking the time to check out our big patio project! -Sara
Here’s the bare before photo:
And here’s the amazing after:
Didn’t Sara’s DIY determination pay off big-time? What a fantastic place to entertain and enjoy three seasons out of the year! Plus we can only imagine the added resale value that it brings to their home. Don’t forget to head over to her blog to see more. Amazing job Sara! Now if only spring would hurry up and get here so you can enjoy all that hard work…
Psst- Speaking of hard work, Burger has narrowed his dog version of The Bachelor competition down to two lucky four-legged ladies. Check out the finalists (and the general absurdity) over on Hamburger’s House.
It’s December 1st, which means the calendar has given us full permission to get our Merry Christmas on- or at least get things started. So we kicked things off last Sunday by putting up our artificial (reusable?) Christmas tree. It has yet to be fully decorated with ornaments, but if you wanna dive head first into the holidays with us, here’s a quick little video that captures the process (broken strand of lights and all) and hopefully drums up a little taste of seasonal spirit in the process. Watch it below on Vimeo or here on YouTube:
And while we do our best to give all of you sneak-a-peek-at-work readers a non-video version to enjoy, there’s not much to say or show this time by the way of a photo rundown. Basically we put up our tree (after a couple failed attempts at figuring out which part was the bottom), threw down two sheepskin rugs as a tree skirt and plugged the tree in only to discover a section of lights was out. Sigh. But it’s all in fast motion with a bit of holiday music so it’s somehow still cheerful and fun. Oh and Sherry’s baby belly is clearly visible so that might be exciting for some of you bump watchers out there.
In the good news department: we’ve since fixed our little tree-lighting issue. The better news: we’ll have more pictures (and a sequel video) to share once it gets all ornamentified. Just gotta hunt down (or create) a few more in a certain hard-to-find color first (Sherry’s all about a punchy new scheme this year so stay tuned for that).
But what about you guys. Has anyone else started their holiday decorating yet? We were amazed to see tons of homes that were already fully decked out with lights along the roof and around the porch and a giant tree glowing in the window just the day after Thanksgiving. We’re starting a bit more slowly- but fear not, we’ll pick up steam in the coming weeks and share all the fun along the way. After all, ’tis the season…